Disclaimer. This post is a composite of different experiences, uncannily similar in their presentation. That’s all I’m going to say.
Melanie visited with me last winter, close to the first anniversary of her young husband’s tragic passing. She brought a few personal effects and photographs. Immediately I was struck by cigar smoke and a very strong personality, with every intention of controlling his widow’s experience with me.
This was a first for me. At the beginning of readings, I have been occasionally criticized, chided, ignored, dissed, and even insulted from those on the other side. If a loved one who has passed is a disbeliever in “this stuff,” or not ready, or uncomfortable, those initial reactions usually pass as the reading progresses. But this guy…
Melanie looked at me curiously, and then started to laugh herself into tears. “Okay I think it’s fair to say you’ve met my husband.” With hesitation, I described a guy who was bigger than life, controlling, moody, but also the happy-go-lucky “go to” guy for everyone he knew. Was he military? That caused Melanie to laugh to the point of doubling over. “I’m sorry, I’m probably not supposed to be laughing,” she apologized. She pulled out an envelope with more pictures, selected a few, and gently turned them to face me. It was Steve, in each picture wearing a different military uniform, with Melanie at his side dressed as a dance hall girl, a flapper, and a nun. Halloween. The ever present cigar was either clenched between Steve’s teeth, or in his hand in every photo.
I shared with Melanie my feeling that Steve was trying to compartmentalize the information he was sharing, and feeding it to me with a sugar coat. She nodded. “I’m just happy that he came through. I’ll take the sugar coating. I always have.” Steve apologized for his unexpected departure, and expressed his deep love for his wife. He also said something about his Yankees baseball jacket. That did’t mean much to her–at the time. She left feeling some comfort and closure.
A couple of months later I heard from Melanie, and she was in quite a state. “You may think this is crazy but I think Steve is still trying to control me.” She met someone, and the guy, Jim, had moved in. It was comforting to have a man around, and it certainly helped her feelings of loneliness. “No sooner than he unpacked, weird stuff started to happen. Closet doors falling off sliders when we weren’t home, electrical nuisances, a doorknob coming off, just ridiculous stuff.” She added,”Jim also swore up and down that someone was going through his underwear drawer, and he was convinced it was Steve.”
Melanie sighed. “Jim was embarrassed that he couldn’t fix things. In fact he made them worse. Steve was so handy.” So, Jim contacted a handyman who had recently left his card in their mailbox. He let Melanie deal with the repairman. “He was really nice, and kinda flirty until he saw Steve’s baseball jacket in the closet he was repairing.” I heard a deep, sad sigh. “Jim was really convinced it was Steve messing up things, so he moved out.” Hmm. “How do I get Steve to back off, and not mess up my relationship with Jim?” Melanie sounded desperate. I had to call the repair guy again to replace my darn garage door opener.” Jim hadn’t returned his remote either. Big hmmm.
“It sounds like you’re convinced it’s Steve too,” I responded. She replied matter of factly. “Honestly, I have no doubt.” I thought about our reading. “Well, if that’s the case, he either disapproves of Jim or is protecting you, or trying to tell you Jim’s not the right one. What was it that Steve said about the baseball jacket when you were here?” Melanie gasped. “Jeez, how could I forget THAT? Oh my gosh…” I waited this one out. “Oh Edward, I’m such a dummy! Jim isn’t a great match for me. I just–I’ve been scared, you know? SHOOT!”
I heard a strange sound. “Are you slapping your forehead?” Melanie laughed, “Edward, the repair guy–he was really curious–he saw boxes in the garage, stuff I’m going to donate, and he wanted to make sure I wasn’t tossing out Steve’s Yankees jacket!” Again, I waited. “Edward you’re being too quiet.” “Well, I thought you were about to have an epiphany and you don’t need my help with that.” She sighed. “I’d like to go out with David–the repair guy–but the relationship with Jim is hanging over my head.” “Melanie, the only thing over your head right now is Steve trying to take care of you. You can call it whatever you want, but I think he’s being protective, not intrusive.” She was quiet. “Well Edward, I gotta go. I think I’m going to accept David’s invitation to a baseball game tonight.” “David–is he the handyman?” “Yup. I’ll let you know how it goes.”
WAIT. This is the best part. Melanie went to the game with David, and saw a familiar face at the concession stand. It was her first boyfriend from high school–wearing a Yankees jacket. “We talked for two innings! One thing lead to another.” They dated for a few months, and Melanie accepted his marriage proposal. “Oh David? He’s dating all the single women in the neighborhood.”
What we may experience as the intrusive, inappropriate behavior of a loved one in spirit may simply be their attempt to protect you. Maybe even coax you in the right direction. Now I’m gonna make a bowl of popcorn and watch GHOST again.